As the 2008 presidential election draws near, potential candidates are vying for voters’ support; in a country where 83% of the population identifies as Christian and 37% of this group describes themselves as evangelicals or born-again, it is easy to see how Republican candidates could perceive the religious right as an important voting bloc. John McCain certainly seems to be embracing the notion whole-heartedly as he prepares to be the keynote speaker for the Discovery Institute, which is “the most prominent creationism advocacy group in the country.” Despite a history of waffling back and forth on whether or not intelligent design should be taught in schools, McCain appears to have finally taken a definite stance in favor of a radically conservative social agenda. This is a tactical mistake.
The importance of the religious right seemed to be verified in 2004 by the national exit poll, which revealed that the “most important” issue to voters was “moral values”; consequently, the religious right was hailed as the decisive voting bloc in the initial analysis of the election. Soon thereafter, however, this belief in a “moral values” and religious-right victory for George W. Bush was debunked upon closer inspection, and studies pointed towards an increase in support from blocs of moderate voters as the decisive factor in 2004. By agreeing to be the keynote speaker for the Discovery Institute, McCain is making a blatant appeal to the conservative evangelicals, and he is at definite risk of alienating large blocs of his potential voters. Ever since